Ottawa, ON – September 2, 2022 – Last week, NDP leader Jagmeet Singh sent an email to supporters outlining his party’s new policy on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
In direct contrast to long-standing NDP policy, the email takes hardline positions against Israel, laying the blame for the ongoing conflict solely on the shoulders of the Jewish state. Like Canada, Israel is a democracy. Unlike Canada, Israel faces persistent, existential threats.
The NDP’s new direction proposes that the Government of Canada overturn decades of Middle Eastern policy and diplomacy and reverse Canada’s relationship with the only democracy in the region. In response, Shimon Koffler Fogel, President and CEO of the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs (CIJA) issued the following statement:
“A peaceful two-state solution is the only acceptable resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. This is supported by CIJA, the broader Jewish community, the Government of Canada, and all major Canadian political parties. While we are relieved Mr. Singh has not deviated from this objective, the rest of the NDP’s asks ignore the reality on the ground in the Middle East.
“Rather than proposing constructive, rational ideas on how to achieve this laudable objective, Mr. Singh presents ill-informed, fringe positions that demonize Israelis and infantilize Palestinians – denying them agency and treating them as passive victims instead of as partners in peace who must be part of the solution.
“It is distressing that Mr. Singh posits that every challenge faced by the Palestinian people is not only the fault of Israel but also entirely up to Israel to solve. In doing so, he ignores the multiple rejections of peace and the chance for a sovereign Palestinian state by Palestinian leadership. He overlooks the exploitation of children by armed groups that use them both as targets for political gains and as soldiers. He fails to mention the tyranny and violence toward both Palestinians and Israelis by internationally designated terrorist organizations. He disregards democratic failures and the lack of human rights protections by Palestinian leadership. He misinterprets UNSC 242; occupation, by definition, is not illegal and a negotiated peace must come first. And, of course, he completely negates the rabid Jew-hatred that underpins this tragic conflict.
“Mr. Singh must also be reminded that Canada has already responded to false allegations accusing Israel of ‘apartheid.’ It has rejected application of that label being applied to Israel, as have other democracies, including the Netherlands, the UK, Germany, and the USA.
“Our insistence on recognition of the inalienable right of the Jewish people to self-determination is matched by a commitment to support legitimate aspirations of the Palestinian people, including the right to an independent state. Like Mr. Singh, we too want Jews and Arabs to live in peace side by side. The NDP could be an important bridge-builder to help bring Israelis and Palestinians together. But this new direction will not advance peace.
"In its one-sided, unbalanced positioning against Israel, the NDP is apparently following in the steps of the UK Labour Party under Jeremy Corbyn. We all know where that led: unmitigated disaster at the polls and widespread antisemitism within the Party.
“The NDP must return to a more constructive position on the Middle East that neither demonizes Israelis nor infantilizes Palestinians and that genuinely promotes peace and human rights."
About the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs
The Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs (CIJA) is the advocacy agent of Jewish Federations across Canada. CIJA is a national, non-partisan, non-profit organization whose mission is to preserve and protect Jewish life in Canada through advocacy and to advance the public policy interests of Canada’s organized Jewish community.
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